Thinking Outside the Box


If you’re like me, the first thing you probably did when you first extracted your Canon EOS R5 or R6 camera from the box was attach one of the available RF-mount lenses, power the beast up, and begin taking photos through a tentative trial-and-error process. Who has time to even scan a manual when you’re holding in your hands some of the most exciting technology Canon has ever offered? If you’re a veteran Canon shooter, you probably found many of the controls and menus very similar to what you’re used to, even though the camera itself is much more compact and lighter in weight than your previous Canon and uses lenses in the new RF lens mount.

But now that you’ve taken a few hundred (or thousand) photos with your new camera, you’re ready to learn more. You’ve noted some intriguing features and adjustments that you need to master. Of course, on the other hand, you may be new to the Canon world, or this may be your first advanced digital camera, and you need some guidance in learning to use all the creative options it has to offer. In either case, despite your surging creative juices, I recommend a more considered approach to learning how to operate the camera. This chapter and the next are designed to get your camera fired up and ready for shooting as quickly as possible. And while they boast both Auto and sophisticated Programmed Auto modes, these cameras are not point-and-shoot models; to get the most out of your new camera, you’ll want to explore its capabilities fully.

So, to help you begin shooting as quickly as possible, I’m going to first provide a basic pre-flight checklist that you need to complete before you really spread your wings and take off. You won’t find a lot of detail in these initial two chapters. Indeed, I’m going to tell you just what you absolutely must understand, accompanied by some interesting tidbits that will help you become acclimated to your camera. I’ll go into more depth and even repeat a little of what I explain here in the chapters that follow, so you don’t have to memorize everything you see. Just relax, follow a few easy steps, and then go out and begin taking your best shots—ever.

I hope that even long-time Canon owners won’t be tempted to skip this chapter or the next one. No matter how extensive your experience level is with dSLRs, your new mirrorless camera has a lot of differences from what you may be used to. Yet, I realize you don’t want to wade through a manual to find out what you must know to take those first few tentative snaps. I’m going to help you hit the ground running with this chapter, which will help you set up your camera and begin shooting in minutes. Because some of you may already have experience with previous Canon cameras, each of the major sections in this chapter will begin with a brief description of what is covered in that section, so you can easily jump ahead to the next if you are in a hurry to get started.


TIP In this book you’ll find short tips labeled My recommendation or My preference, each intended to help you sort through the available options for a feature, control, or menu entry. I’ll provide my preference, suitable for most people in most situations. I don’t provide these recommendations for every single feature, and you should consider your own needs before adopting any of them.

First Things First

This section helps get you oriented with all the things that come in the box with your Canon EOS R5 or R6, including what they do. I’ll also describe some optional equipment you might want to have. If you want to get started immediately, skim through this section and jump ahead to “Initial Setup” later in this chapter.

The first thing to do is carefully unpack the camera and double-check the contents. At a minimum, the box should have the following:

  • Canon EOS R5 or R6 digital camera. It almost goes without saying that you should check out the camera immediately, making sure the color LCD screen on the back isn’t scratched or cracked, the memory card and battery doors open properly, and, when a charged battery is inserted and lens mounted, the camera powers up and reports for duty. Out-of-the-box defects like these are rare, but they can happen. It’s probably more common that your dealer played with the camera or, perhaps, it was a customer return. That’s why it’s best to buy your camera from a retailer you trust to supply a factory-fresh camera.
  • Lens (optional). At their introduction, these cameras were available as a body only, and in a variety of kit configurations, such as body plus either the 24-105mm f/4L lens or more affordable 24-105mm f/4.7-7.1 zoom. Dealers were also willing to package the camera body with other lenses, such as the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM, RF 28-70mm f/2.8L IS USM, and RF 50mm f/1.2L USM. However, unless you were willing to pay out big bucks or wanted to go all in with Canon’s new mirrorless system, you probably opted for one of the two all-purpose 24-105mm optics. Some photographers with a heavy investment in Canon dSLR gear might have eschewed any RF-mount option and got one of the three available mount adapters to use with their existing lenses.

    My recommendation: For an enthusiast camera at this level, you can’t go wrong with the superb 24-105mm f/4L version, which compares favorably with its Canon EF-mount 24-105mm counterpart. I’ll explain your lens options in more detail in Chapter 7.

  • Battery Pack LP-E6NH. You’ll need to charge this 7.2V, 1865mAh (milliampere hour) battery before using it. I’ll offer instructions later in this section. It should be furnished with a protective cover, which should always be mounted on the battery when it is not inside the camera, to avoid shorting out the contacts.
  • Battery Charger LC-E6/LC-E6E. One of these chargers, described in the “Initial Setup” section that follows this one, is required to vitalize the LP-E6NH battery.
  • Neck strap. Canon provides you with a “steal me” neck strap emblazoned with your camera model. It’s not very adjustable, and, while useful for showing off to your friends exactly which nifty new camera you bought, it’s probably not your best option, and also can serve to alert observant unsavory types that you’re sporting a higher-end model that’s worthy of their attention.

    My recommendation: I never attach the Canon strap to my cameras. I use the UPstrap shown in Figure 1.1, with a patented non-slip pad that keeps your camera on your shoulder, and not crashing to the ground. I strongly prefer the UPstrap over holsters, slings, chest straps, or any support that dangles my camera upside down from the tripod socket and allows it to swing around too freely when I’m on the run. Give me a strap I can hang over either shoulder, or sling around my neck, and I am happy. Inventor-photographer Al Stegmeyer ( can help you choose the right strap for you.


Figure 1.1 Both cameras are light enough to carry comfortably with a neck strap like the UPstrap shown.

  • Lens accessories (if you purchased a kit). If you purchased your camera with a lens, you’ll also receive accessories, including the LF-N1 rear lens cap. The lens will also be furnished with a front lens cap of appropriate diameter and may include a case. The RF 24-105 f/4 L IS USM lens comes with a Canon E-77 II and LP1319 lens case, for example.
  • Camera cover. The body cap keeps dust from infiltrating your camera when a lens is not mounted. Always carry a body cap (and rear lens cap). When not in use, the body cap/rear lens cap nest together for compact storage.
  • Interface Cable IFC-100U (R5 only). You can use this 1 meter/3.2-foot USB 3.0 Type-C cable to transfer photos from the camera to your computer (not recommended), to upload and download settings between the camera and your computer (highly recommended), and to operate your camera remotely using the EOS Utility software you can download from the Support page of your country’s Canon website.

    My recommendation: I don’t recommend using the cable to transfer images. Direct transfer uses a lot of battery power and is potentially slower. This cable has Type-C connectors at either end—which means you’ll need a Type-C-to-Type-A adapter to link to a non-Type-C computer or other device. Some generic Type-C-to-Type-A cables I’ve tried do not work properly, particularly with the EOS Utility (an application that allows your computer to communicate with the camera for downloading and displaying images, remote shooting, and control of camera settings). You’ll need to test yours if you’re trying to save a few dollars.

  • Cable protector (R5 only). This fastens to the side of the R5 and holds the USB and (optional) HDMI cables snugly in place.

    My recommendation: While Canon warns that the camera terminals can be damaged if you do not use the protector, that’s unlikely to occur in normal use. For most applications, say, to transfer files from the camera to your computer over USB, or to temporarily route the camera’s output to a TV/monitor, using the HDMI interface, you will not need this clip. The unadorned cables fit quite snugly. (That’s why the clip is unavailable for the R6.)

    However, R5 owners will find the protector invaluable in other applications. For example, if you want to shoot tethered over USB while connected to a laptop running the EOS Utility or another program, or plan to direct HDMI output to a video recorder, high-definition monitor, or other device, you’ll want to use the clips to make sure your EOS R5 remains connected.

  • User’s manuals. Canon still provides a basic printed manual. It’s small, but deceptively thick, as only about 200 pages are in English, with the rest of the content repeating the same information in Spanish and French. If you need a more comprehensive manual to supplement this book, you’ll have to download a PDF version, available from your country’s Canon website.
  • Warranty and registration card. Don’t lose these! You can register your camera by mail, although you don’t really need to in order to keep your warranty in force, but you may need the information in this paperwork (plus the purchase receipt/invoice from your retailer) should you require Canon service support.

There are a few things Canon classifies as optional accessories, even though you (and I) might consider some of them essential. Here’s a list of what you don’t get in the box, but you might want to think about as an impending purchase. I’ll list them roughly in the order of importance:

  • Memory card. You’ll need at least one memory card, as one is not furnished with the camera.

    My recommendation: You really need a memory card that’s a minimum of 32GB in size, and a 64GB or larger card would be much better.

  • Extra LP-E6NH/LP-E6 battery. Your camera’s sensor and either electronic viewfinder or rear panel LCD screen are active for long periods of time as you use your camera, so battery life may be less than what you’re used to. Canon estimates you should get approximately 470 or 380 shots (for the R5 and R6, respectively) from a single battery when using the electronic viewfinder, and up to 490/380 (R5/R6) shots if you’re working exclusively with the back-panel LCD monitor. It’s easy to exceed that figure in a few hours of shooting sports at 12 fps (20 fps with the electronic shutter). Batteries can unexpectedly fail, too, or simply lose their charge from sitting around unused for a week or two.

    My recommendation: Buy an extra battery (I own four, in total), keep it charged, and free your mind from worry. The latest LP-E6NH version is best (it can be charged inside the camera with the USB Power Adapter PD-E1, described in the next section), but if you’re upgrading from a previous model that uses the original LP-E6 batteries and have a spare or two, you can use them as well.

  • Add-on Speedlite. Like many advanced enthusiast cameras, these cameras do not include a built-in electronic flash, so you’ll need an external Speedlite such as the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT or the flagship EL-1 (which costs $1,100!). If you’re looking to cut down on the weight you carry around, consider the Canon Speedlite EL-100, which has more modest output best used for fill.

    My recommendation: Your add-on flash can function as the main illumination for your photo, or it can be softened and used to fill in shadows. If you do much flash photography at all, consider a Speedlite as an important accessory. For the most flexibility when lighting your subject, you’ll need two flash units: one on the camera to be used as a sender, and one off-camera flash triggered wirelessly as a receiver. (The three flash units mentioned above can function in either role. Canon also offers the ST-E2 and ST-E3-RT transmitter/triggers which can mount on the accessory shoe and serve as masters.)

  • Mount adapters. If you already own a collection of Canon EF and EF-S lenses, Canon offers three adapters that will let you use those lenses on any R-series camera. One is a mount adapter only, a second adds a customizable control ring to your EF/EF-S lenses like those found on the RF optics themselves, while a third includes a drop-in filter carrier that lets you use a single size filter behind the rear element of the EF/EF-S lens. That includes polarizers and variable neutral-density filters, and the capability works with lenses that ordinarily can’t use screw-in filters at all, such as the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM or Canon Tilt/Shift TS-E 17mm f/4L lenses. I’ll describe the three mount adapters in more detail in Chapter 7, which deals with your full range of lens options for the EOS R5 and R6.
  • AC Adapter Kit AC-E6N. This device is used with a DC coupler, the DR-E6, that replaces the LP-E6NH battery and powers the camera from AC current.

    My recommendation: There are several typical situations where this capability can come in handy: when you’re cleaning the sensor manually and want to totally eliminate the possibility that a lack of juice will cause the fragile shutter to spring to life during the process; when indoors shooting tabletop photos, portraits, class pictures, and so forth for hours on end; when using your camera for remote shooting as well as time-lapse photography; for extensive review of images on your television; or for file transfer to your computer. These all use prodigious amounts of power, which can be provided by this AC adapter.

  • Remote controls. Although the self-timer can be used to trigger your tripod-mounted camera without any vibration, it’s more convenient to use a wired or wireless remote control to trip the shutter.

    My recommendation: The Canon RC-6 wireless remote control, which uses infrared signals to trigger the shutter and start/stop video, is your most basic remote option. The Canon BR-E1 wireless remote control uses Bluetooth up to a distance of about 16 feet (and doesn’t require a line of sight to the camera) and is compatible with the PZ-E1 Power Zoom Adapter for remotely adjusting zoom position and movement of the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. It also has an AF button for autofocus during video shooting.

    Or, you can opt for wired remotes like the Canon RS-80N remote switch and TC-80N3 timer remote controller (which offers more sophisticated sequences and also functions as an interval timer). Both have a Canon N3 type connection which works fine with the EOS R5. However, the R6 requires the Canon RA-E3 remote controller N3-to-E3 adapter to connect to the R6.

  • HDMI cable. You’ll need an optional HDMI Type A (standard) to Type D (micro) cable if you want to connect your camera directly to an HDTV for viewing your images.

    My recommendation: I use standard HDMI micro (Type D) cables in 6- and 9-foot lengths. They work fine, and I can buy several for the price of one Canon-branded cable. Canon recommends against using cables longer than that.

Initial Setup

Many owners can skip this section, which describes basic setup steps. I’m including it at the request of ambitious photo buffs who have upgraded to this mirrorless camera after switching from a Canon dSLR, another camera brand, or an entry-level model from any manufacturer.

The initial setup of your camera is fast and easy. Basically, you just need to charge the battery, attach a lens, adjust the viewfinder for your vision, insert and format at least one memory card, and make a few settings. Each of these steps is easy, and if you’ve used a previous EOS model, you already know exactly what to do. I’m going to provide a little extra detail for those of you who are new to the Canon or digital SLR worlds.

Power Options

Your Canon EOS R5 or R6 is a sophisticated hunk of machinery and electronics, but it needs a charged battery to function, so rejuvenating the LP-E6NH lithium-ion battery pack furnished with your camera should be your first step. A fully charged power source should be good for approximately 400 shots, more or less, depending on whether you’re using the LCD or viewfinder to compose your shots. This rough estimate is based on standard tests defined by the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) document DC-002.

All rechargeable batteries undergo some degree of self-discharge just sitting idle in the camera or in the original packaging. Lithium-ion power packs of this type typically lose a small amount of their charge every day, even when the camera isn’t turned on. The small amount of juice used to provide the “skeleton” outline on the top-panel monochrome LCD of the R5 when the camera is turned off isn’t the culprit; Li-ion cells lose their power through a chemical reaction that continues when the camera is switched off. So, it’s very likely that the battery purchased with your camera is at least partially pooped out, so you’ll want to revive it before going out for some serious shooting.

Several battery chargers are available for your camera. The compact LC-E6 is the charger that most owners end up using. Purchasing one of the optional charging devices offers more than some additional features: You gain a spare that can keep your camera running until you can replace your primary power rejuvenator. I like to have an extra charger in case my original charger breaks, or when I want to charge more than one battery at a time. (That’s often the case if you’re using the BG-R10 grip.) Here’s a list of your power options:

  • LC-E6. The standard charger for the camera (and also compatible with earlier models that use the LC-E6 or LC-E6N batteries), this is the most convenient, because of its compact size and built-in wall plug prongs that connect directly into your power strip or wall socket and require no cord. (See Figure 1.2, left.)


Figure 1.2 A flashing status light indicates that the battery is being charged (left). Insert the battery in the camera; it only fits one way (right).

  • LC-E6E. This is similar to the LC-E6, and also charges a single battery, but it requires a cord. That can be advantageous in certain situations. For example, if your power outlet is behind a desk or in some other semi-inaccessible location, the cord can be plugged in and routed so the charger itself sits on your desk or another more convenient spot. The cord is standard and works with many different chargers and devices (including the power supply for my laptop), so I purchased several of them and leave them plugged into the wall in various locations. I can connect my camera’s charger, my laptop computer’s charger, and several other electronic components to one of these cords without needing to crawl around behind the furniture. The cord draws no power when it’s not plugged into a charger. Unhook the charger from the cord when you’re not actively rejuvenating your batteries.
  • Car Battery Cable CBC-E6. It includes the Car Battery Cable CB-570 (plug into your vehicle’s lighter or accessory socket). The vehicle battery option allows you to keep shooting when in remote locations that lack AC power.
  • Battery Grip BG-R10. This $375 accessory holds one or two LC-E6NH batteries. You can potentially double your shooting capacity, while adding an additional shutter release, Main Dial, Quick Control Dial, M-Fn button, AF-ON, AE lock/FE lock, and AF point selection controls for vertically oriented shooting. An included power adapter allows charging LP-E6NH batteries (but not LP-E6 packs) while in the camera.

    My recommendation: Even though it is expensive, hold out for the BG-R10. Many people love third-party grips from Meike, Neewer, Vivitar, and others, at a lower cost. I have purchased these grips in the past and found them acceptable for occasional use. I expect a similar unit will be available for both the R5 and R6 by the time this book is published. However, most people like to clamp their add-on grips onto the camera and remove them only rarely. If you intend to make a battery grip part of your permanent setup, the Canon model will be better made, more rugged, and guaranteed to work seamlessly with your camera.

  • USB Power Adapter PD-E1. Available separately for about $200, this adapter allows charging LP-E6NH batteries without removing them from the camera or grip over a USB Type-C connection. Theoretically, you might be able to charge the batteries from a less expensive adapter or power brick if it is capable of providing higher than 5V and has USB-C output. (USB-C uses a Power Delivery specification that initially provides a “profile” that delivers 5V at 2A but can “negotiate” with a device to provide up to 20V at 5A.) Ordinary USB chargers I’ve tried do not work and produce an Err message. (Don’t panic! Turn the camera off and remove the battery for a few minutes to cancel the error message.)

    The access lamp in the lower-right corner of the camera’s back panel will glow green during charging. (This is the same LED that flashes red when the camera is writing to the memory card.) When charging is finished, the lamp turns off.

  • AC Adapter Kit ACK-E6. This device allows you to operate your camera directly from AC power, with no battery required. Studio photographers need this capability because they often snap off hundreds of pictures for hours on end and want constant, reliable power. The camera is probably plugged into a flash sync cord (or radio device), and the studio flash are plugged into power packs or AC power, so the extra tether to this adapter is no big deal in that environment. You also might want to use the AC adapter when viewing images on a TV connected to your camera, shooting video, or when shooting remote or time-lapse photos.
Charging the Battery

When the battery is inserted into the LC-E6 charger properly (it’s impossible to insert it incorrectly), a Charge light begins flashing. It flashes on and off until the battery reaches a 50 percent charge, then blinks in two-flash cycles between 50 and 75 percent charged, and in a three-flash sequence until the battery is 90 percent charged, usually within about 90 minutes. In my experience, to be safe you should allow the charger to continue for about 60 minutes more, until the status lamp glows green steadily, to ensure a full charge. When the battery is charged, flip the lever on the bottom of the camera and slide in the battery (see Figure 1.2, right). To remove the battery from the camera, press the white retaining button.

Mounting a Lens

As you’ll see, my recommended lens-mounting procedure emphasizes protecting your equipment from accidental damage and minimizing the intrusion of dust. If your camera has no lens attached, select the lens you want to use and loosen (but do not remove) the rear lens cap. I generally place the lens I am planning to mount vertically in a slot in my camera bag, where it’s protected from mishaps, but ready to pick up quickly. By loosening the rear lens cap, you’ll be able to lift it off the back of the lens at the last instant, so the rear element of the lens is covered until then.

After that, remove the body cap by rotating the cap toward the shutter release button. You should always mount the body cap when there is no lens on the camera because it helps keep dust out of the interior of the camera, where it can settle in the interior and potentially find its way onto the sensor. (While the sensor-cleaning mechanism works fine, the less dust it has to contend with, the better.) The body cap also protects the vulnerable sensor from damage caused by intruding objects (including your fingers if you’re not cautious).

Once the body cap has been removed, remove the rear lens cap from the lens, set it aside, and then mount the lens on the camera by matching the raised red alignment indicator on the lens barrel with the red line on the camera’s lens mount. Rotate the lens away from the shutter release until it seats securely. Set the focus mode switch on the lens to AF (autofocus) and the stabilizer switch to On. If the lens hood is bayoneted on the lens in the reversed position (which makes the lens/hood combination more compact for transport), twist it off and remount so it is facing outward. A lens hood protects the front of the lens from accidental bumps, stray fingerprints, and reduces flare caused by extraneous light arriving at the front element of the lens from outside the picture area.

Adjusting Diopter Correction

Those of us with less than perfect eyesight can often benefit from a little optical correction in the viewfinder. Your contact lenses or glasses may provide all the correction you need, but if you are a glasses wearer and want to work without your glasses, you can take advantage of the camera’s built-in diopter adjustment, which can be varied from –4 to +2 correction. With the camera powered up, rotate the diopter adjustment control located to the immediate right of the viewfinder (see Figure 1.3) while looking through the viewfinder until the indicators appear sharp.


Figure 1.3 Viewfinder diopter correction from –4 to +2 can be dialed in.

Inserting a Memory Card

You can’t take photos without at least one memory card inserted in your camera, so your final step will be to insert one or two. Slide the door on the right side of the body toward the back of the camera to release the cover, and then open it. (You should only remove the memory card when the camera is switched off, but the camera will remind you if the door is opened while the camera is still writing photos to the memory card.)

Insert the memory card into either of the two slots with the label facing the back of the camera, as shown in Figure 1.4, oriented so the edge with the contacts goes into the slot first. Slot 1 is the slot closest to the back of the camera; Slot 2 is located behind it. With the R5, Slot 1 is used with CFexpress cards and Slot 2 is for SD-type cards. Although XQD cards have the same form factor as CFexpress Type-B media and will fit in Slot 1, your R5 cannot recognize or use them. The R6 contains two identical SD slots.

If you load only one card, the camera will automatically default to the slot that contains the memory card and operate just fine. I’ll show you how to specify the default card and how the camera uses them when two memory cards are inserted in Chapter 14. Close the door, and your preflight checklist is done! (I’m going to assume you remember to remove the lens cap when you’re ready to take a picture!) When you want to remove a memory card later, press down on the card to make it pop out.


Figure 1.4 Insert the memory card in the slot with the label facing the back of the camera. The R5 slots are shown at top, and R6 memory card slots at bottom.

It’s worthwhile to consider one of the early “controversies” (if you can call it that) about the original EOS R and EOS RP models: each had only a single card slot. Apparently, all professional or semi-professional cameras (generally automatically applied to any model with an MSRP of $2,000 or more) must have the ability to use two card slots, for overflow or backup purposes. Those of us who made our living for a few decades using cameras that held just a single roll of film (which required after-the-fact processing to confirm that you got anything at all) are less upset. Of course, in those days it was common to wield two or more cameras per shoot, which provided for overflow (back when we depended on 36-exposure rolls of film) and a rudimentary form of interleaved backup.

The R5 and R6 solve that problem by offering two memory card slots. Dual memory cards in overflow mode come in especially handy for spot news and sports, as a photojournalist will frequently swap out a card that’s 80 percent (or slightly more) full for a fresh one to avoid missing something important during an inopportune trade. But most of the time I simply store my images on my fastest or largest memory card and treat the second slot as convenient insurance.

Although having a pair of cards with the same form factor (as the R6 does) is most convenient, Canon elected to add a CFexpress slot and SD slot to the R5. The CFexpress form factor offers the ruggedness and comforting larger size many advanced enthusiasts and professionals prefer. They are also the most robust and fastest storage options available for digital photography. Note that the R5 uses the Type-B CFe card, not the smaller Type-A media that is about the size of an SD card.

Secure Digital cards have a lower top-speed ceiling than CFexpress cards. However, SD cards, including the latest SDXC cards, are available in speeds up to 300Mbs transfer rates with UHS-II-compliant models. Keep in mind that different vendors use different specifications for speed (both “X” factors and megabytes per second), and that write speed means how fast the device can transfer an image file to storage, while read speed (which may be emphasized because it is faster) represents how quickly the image can be transferred to your computer though a sufficiently fast connection (such as a USB 3.x card reader).

Learning Basic Navigation

The remaining setup steps require working with some of the basic controls of your camera. The R5 and R6 offer multiple ways to move through the various screens displayed in the viewfinder and on the back-panel LCD. You’ll use these navigational tools to make menus selections, move focus points and zones around within the frame, and to change the area viewed during focusing and playback. This camera also has a versatile touch screen that can perform many of the same functions. For this intentionally concise Quick Start, I will stick to the basic controls suggested. I’ll show you how to add the touch screen to your repertoire in Chapter 2.

Figure 1.5 shows the main navigational controls of both the R5 (left) and R6 (right). Note that the location and function of the navigation controls are identical on both cameras. The chief difference between them is that the R5 has a MODE button (which shifts among shooting modes like Aperture-priority and Shutter-priority) in the center of the Quick Control Dial 2. The R6 has a physical Mode Dial substituting for the R5’s top-panel LCD.


Figure 1.5 Basic navigational controls.

I’ll explain how to change shooting modes later. For now, let’s concentrate on the navigational controls:

  • Main Dial. This wheel, located on top of the camera aft of the shutter release button, is used within menus to move from one tab to the next; within the Quick Control screen to make setting adjustments; to move a focus point horizontally; or to adjust settings such as shutter speed.
  • Quick Control Dial 1. A wheel-like disc located on the back panel, the Quick Control Dial 1 is used to move vertically within a given menu tab; in the Quick Control screen to cycle among the 10 available settings; to move the focus point; or to adjust settings such as aperture.
  • Quick Control Dial 2. Located on the top-back edge of the camera, this dial rotates to quickly jump from one main menu tab to the next (for example, from the Shooting menu to the AF menu without visiting each individual tab within the main menus). It also duplicates the Quick Control Dial 1’s vertical focus point movement and duplicates the Main Dial’s setting adjustment function within the Quick Control screen.
  • Multi-controller. This joystick-like button can be shifted in eight directions with the tip of your finger. It can also be pressed inward to function as a Set/Return/Enter button when choosing some options. You’ll use it for things like setting white balance correction, moving the AF point or magnifying the frame within the image, or for making adjustments with the Quick Control screen.
  • INFO button. Changes the type of data shown on the display, cycling among available screens when pressed repeatedly.
  • Q button. Accesses the Quick Control menu, which I’ll describe shortly.
  • SET button. Serves as an Enter button to confirm menu choices and adjustments.


Canon didn’t do us any favors when it decided on nomenclature for its four directional controls, especially if you’re migrating from a non-Canon camera platform. We’re blessed with three dials and a joystick that have been given names that can be confusing for newcomers and veterans alike.

When Canon decided to augment its Main Dial located on the front of the top-right panel with a second dial positioned at the rear of the same panel, it could have labeled it Rear Dial to differentiate the two. Instead, the company elected to assign the name already given to the back-panel Quick Control Dial on its cameras and dub it Quick Control Dial 2. The original Quick Control Dial is now called Quick Control Dial 1. Sometimes the two dials perform the same function; I’ll alert you when you must use the second QCD.

In the past, I’ve used the QCD abbreviation to save space; henceforth QCD-1 will represent the original Quick Control Dial, and QCD-2 will be used to indicate what many call the rear dial interloper. The term Multi-controller will always refer to the R5’s or R6’s joystick.

Formatting a Memory Card

You can practice using the basic controls I just introduced by formatting a memory card. There are three ways to create a blank memory card for your camera, and two of them are at least partially wrong. Here are your options, both correct and incorrect:

  • Transfer (move) files to your computer. When you transfer (rather than copy) all the image files to your computer from the memory card (either using a direct cable transfer or with a card reader, as described later in this chapter), the old image files are erased from the card, leaving the card blank. Theoretically. This method does not remove files that you’ve labeled as Protected (choosing the Protect images function in the Playback menu) nor does it identify and lock out parts of your memory card that have become corrupted or unusable since the last time you formatted the card. Therefore, I recommend always formatting the card, rather than simply moving the image files, each time you want to make a blank card. The only exception is when you want to leave the protected/unerased images on the card for a while longer, say, to share with friends, family, and colleagues.
  • (Don’t) Format in your computer. With the memory card inserted in a card reader or card slot in your computer, you can use Windows or Mac OS to reformat the memory card. Don’t! The operating system won’t necessarily arrange the structure of the card the way the camera likes to see it (in computer terms, an incorrect file system may be installed). The only way to ensure that the card has been properly formatted for your camera is to perform the format in the camera itself. The only exception to this rule is when you have a seriously corrupted memory card that your camera refuses to format. Sometimes it is possible to revive such a corrupted card by allowing the operating system to reformat it first, then trying again in the camera.
  • Setup menu format. To use the recommended method to format a memory card, just follow these steps as labeled with step numbers in Figure 1.6:
  1. 1. Press the MENU button.
  2. 2. Rotate the Main Dial to select the Set-up 1 menu, represented by a wrench icon.
  3. 3. Spin the QCD-1 located on the back of the camera to move the highlighting down within the Set-up 1 menu to Format Card and press the SET button in its center.
  4. 4. Choose the card you want to format, and press SET to confirm.
  5. 5. Rotate the QCD-1 to highlight OK, and press SET again to start the format. You can optionally press the Trash button first to perform an extra thorough low-level “clean-up” format, which is a good idea if the card has been used many times.


Figure 1.6 Formatting a memory card.

Setting the Time and Date

The first time you use the camera, it may ask you to enter the time and date. (This information may have been set by someone checking out your camera on your behalf prior to sale.) Follow these steps:

  1. 1. Press the MENU button, located in the upper-left corner of the back of the camera.
  2. 2. Rotate the Main Dial (near the shutter release button on top of the camera) until the Set-up 1 menu is highlighted. It’s marked by a wrench and the message SET UP1, as shown at left in Figure 1.7.
  3. 3. Rotate the QCD-1 to move the highlighting down to the Date/Time/Zone entry.
  4. 4. Press the SET button to access the Date/Time/Zone setting screen, shown at right in Figure 1.7.


Figure 1.7 Choose the Date/Time/Zone entry from the Set-up 1 menu and set the parameters.

  1. 5. Rotate the QCD-1 to select the value you want to change. When the gold box highlights the month, day, year, hour, minute, or second format you want to adjust, press the SET button to activate that value. A pair of up/down pointing triangles appears above the value.
  2. 6. Rotate the QCD-1 to adjust the value up or down. Press the SET button to confirm the value you’ve entered.
  3. 7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each of the other values you want to change. The date format can be switched from the default mm/dd/yy to yy/mm/dd or dd/mm/yy. You can activate/deactivate Daylight Saving Time and select a Time Zone.
  4. 8. When finished, rotate the QCD-1 to select either OK (if you’re satisfied with your changes) or Cancel (if you’d like to return to the Set-up 1 menu screen without making any changes). Press SET to confirm your choice.
  5. 9. When finished setting the date and time, press the MENU button to exit.


As I noted, your camera has a touch-sensitive screen that is useful for navigating menus, selecting focus points, and other functions. In many cases, you can use the buttons and dials and the touch screen almost interchangeably, but for this introductory chapter I’m going to stick to using the physical controls instead of the touch controls. There are two reasons for that. First, it’s important you become comfortable using the buttons and dials, because for many functions they are faster, sometimes easier, and work reliably even when your fingers are “encumbered” (say, while you’re wearing gloves). In addition, this chapter is intended primarily for those new to the Canon mirrorless world. I’ll explain how to use the touch screen in Chapter 2.

Selecting a Shooting Mode

The following sections show you how to choose semi-automatic, automatic shooting, or exposure modes; select a metering mode (which tells the camera what portions of the frame to evaluate for exposure); and set the basic autofocus functions. If you understand how to do these things, you can skip ahead to “Other Settings.”

Turn on the camera, and, if you mounted a lens and inserted a fresh battery and memory card, you’re ready to begin. You’ll need to select a shooting mode, metering mode, and focus mode.

Shooting modes are selected in a slightly different way for the R5 and R6:

  • R5: Press the MODE button, located in the center of QCD-2 (see Figure 1.8, left) located on the top-right edge of the EOS R5. Press the button once, and press the left/right buttons, or rotate the Main Dial or Quick Control Dials to select a mode. The current mode is displayed on the LCD panel on the top of the camera and color LCD screen on the back of the EOS R5. (See Figure 1.9.)
  • R6: You can choose a shooting method with the R6 by rotating the Mode Dial, located on top of the camera, to the desired shooting mode. (See Figure 1.8, right.) The current mode is displayed in the lower-left corner of the viewfinder or upper-left corner on the LCD screen. (You may have to press the INFO button located to the right of the LCD to activate the display.)


Figure 1.8 Selecting Shooting modes with the R5 (left) and R6 (right).

The camera has one fully automatic mode called Scene Intelligent Auto (A+ on the display), which makes virtually all the decisions for you (except when to press the shutter). There are also six semi-automatic/manual modes (what Canon calls Creative Zone on its entry- and mid-level models), including Flexible-priority (Fv), Program (P), Shutter-priority (Tv), Aperture-priority (Av), Manual (M), and Bulb (B). These each allow you to provide input over the exposure and settings the camera uses. There are also three camera user settings (Custom shooting modes) that can be used to store specific groups of camera settings, which you can then recall quickly by choosing C1, C2, or C3 as your shooting mode.


Figure 1.9 Shooting modes on the R5 are displayed on the LCD screen on the back of the camera.

The final spot on the R6’s Mode Dial represents the Movie function. Movie Shooting modes are not shown on the R5’s Shooting mode display; as I’ll explain later, you can switch from still to movie shooting modes by pressing the INFO button. You’ll find a complete description of fully automatic and semi-automatic/manual modes in Chapter 4, as well as Custom shooting modes in Chapter 14. Movie options are explained in detail in Chapters 15 and 16.

If you’re very new to digital photography, you might want to set the camera to Scene Intelligent Auto (A+) or P (Program mode) and start snapping away. These modes will make all the appropriate settings for you for many shooting situations. Your choices are as follows:

  • A+ (Scene Intelligent Auto). In this mode, the camera makes all the exposure decisions for you.
  • Fv (Flexible-priority). The Fv stands for flexible value. This is a recently introduced exposure mode that’s a combination of the four described next in this list. You can manually lock in a specific shutter speed or aperture or ISO sensitivity setting, or any combination of the three, and the other values will be set by the camera. You can also allow any or all of them to be selected automatically. You can then make your images darker or lighter using exposure compensation to override your settings.

    As its name implies, this option gives you a great deal of flexibility in choosing which settings are chosen automatically, and which are specified by you manually. I recommend that beginners not use this shooting mode until they’ve read my complete description of how to use it easily in Chapter 4.

  • P (Program). This semi-automatic mode allows the camera to select the basic exposure settings, but you can still override the camera’s choices to fine-tune your image.
  • Tv (Shutter-priority). This mode (Tv stands for time value) is useful when you want to use a particular shutter speed to stop action or produce creative blur effects. The camera will select the appropriate f/stop for you.
  • Av (Aperture-priority). Choose when you want to use a particular lens opening, especially to control sharpness or how much of your image is in focus. The camera will select the appropriate shutter speed for you. Av stands for aperture value.
  • M (Manual). Select when you want full control over the shutter speed and lens opening, either for creative effects or because you are using a studio flash or other flash unit not compatible with the camera’s automatic flash metering.
  • B (Bulb). Choose this mode and the shutter will remain open as long as you hold down the release button. It is useful for making exposures of indeterminate length (say, you want to capture some fireworks, and leave the shutter open until a burst appears, then release the shutter after a few seconds when the light trails have been captured). The B setting can also be used to produce exposures longer than the 30 seconds (maximum) the camera can take automatically.

Choosing a Metering Mode

Metering mode is the next setting you’ll want to make. Note that for this and the settings that follow, the camera must be set to one of the semi-automatic and manual modes and not to Scene Intelligent Auto (A+). Among the four metering modes I’ll describe next, the default Evaluative metering is probably the best choice as you get to know your camera.

To change metering modes, use the Quick Control screen, which comes in several variations and can be accessed using one of these three methods:

  • Option 1: While looking through the viewfinder:
  • Press the Q button. The Q button was shown earlier in Figure 1.5, just above the QCD-1. When you press this button, the screen shown in Figure 1.10 appears for about six seconds, waiting for your input. This is the viewfinder version of the camera’s Quick Control screen.
  • Rotate the QCD-1 to navigate to the Metering Mode icon, which is the sixth from the top in the left column. Then rotate the Main Dial to select one of the four modes described next.
  • Press SET to confirm.


Figure 1.10 When looking through the viewfinder, you can select Metering modes (left to right, bottom of the screen): Evaluative, Partial, Spot, Center-weighted.

  • Option 2: While looking at the LCD screen:
  • The screen will display either one of several different image previews of your subject, or a graphic-based information screen. (You can cycle among these informational displays by pressing the INFO button.)
  • If the image preview is displayed, press the Q button and select a metering mode from the LCD version of the Quick Control screen that appears, using the directional controls as described above in Option 1. The screen is very similar to the one shown in Figure 1.10; the chief difference is that boxes appear around the choices, which indicates you can tap them with the touch screen instead of using navigational controls, which you can use for Option 3, described below.
  • If the graphic screen is not displayed, press the Q button to see the graphic version of the Quick Control screen, shown in Figure 1.11. Navigate to the Metering Mode icon, which is in the center of the bottom row of icons. Rotate either dial to choose a mode, then press SET to confirm.
  • Option 3: When using touch controls:
  • Access either the LCD or graphic versions of the Quick Control screen, as described in Option 2.
  • Tap the Metering Mode icon in either screen, then tap the metering mode you want to select. Confirm and exit by tapping the “Return” arrow icon. I’ll explain all your touch screen options in Chapter 2.


Figure 1.11 When viewing the graphic screen, Metering modes can be selected by rotating either dial while the Metering Mode icon is highlighted.


If at any time the expected display does not appear on the LCD screen or electronic viewfinder display in shooting or playback modes, press the INFO button several times until it is shown. One of the most frequent queries I get from new users asks why, when they follow the directions in my book, the illustrated screen isn’t shown. In virtually all cases, it’s because the photographer has changed the display using the INFO button on the back of the camera to the right of the viewfinder.

The four metering modes you’ll be using are these (you’ll find a detailed description of each of these modes in Chapter 4):

  • Evaluative metering. The standard metering mode; the camera attempts to intelligently classify your image and choose the best exposure based on readings from a large number of zones within the image sensor.
  • Partial metering. Exposure is based on a central spot, roughly 6.1 (R5) or 5.8 (R6) percent of the image area.
  • Spot metering. Exposure is calculated from a smaller central spot, about 3.1 (R5) or 2.9 (R6) percent of the image area, located in the center of the frame.
  • Center-weighted averaging metering. The camera meters the entire scene but gives the most emphasis to the central area of the frame.

Mastering the Quick Control Screen

As you’ve just learned, the Quick Control screen is a speedy way of making any of 10 different settings, which were called out earlier in Figure 1.10. To access any of the adjustments, use the directional controls to move highlighting from one icon to the next one; movement will wrap around between columns. When you’ve highlighted the adjustment you want to make, use the left/right directional controls or either dial to select from the options displayed at the bottom of the screen. As I noted, you can also tap their icons on the touch screen. Note: A second Quick Control screen is available while reviewing your images. I’ll describe its options in the section on Playback later in this chapter. In Shooting mode, your choices include:

  • AF method. Choose the area of the frame which will be used to focus automatically, as described earlier in this chapter.
  • AF operation. Choose from One-Shot or Servo modes.
  • Image quality. Choose from RAW and JPEG formats and Large, Medium, and Small resolutions.
  • Drive mode. Select Single Shooting, High-Speed Continuous +, High-Speed Continuous, Low-Speed Continuous, Self-timer: 10 sec., or Self-timer: 2 sec. You can learn more about continuous shooting in Chapter 6.
  • Metering mode. Select the area the camera uses to collect exposure information.
  • Anti-flicker. Counter the flickering effects of some types of illumination, as explained in Chapter 11.
  • White balance. Select various white balance options, such as Daylight and Incandescent.
  • Picture Style. Apply photo-enhancing parameters to your images as you shoot, as described in Chapter 11.
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer. Adjust shadow detail in high-contrast images.
  • Cropping/Aspect ratio. Crop your image to 1.6X (APS-C) format or change the proportions to 1:1, 4:3, or 16:9 aspect ratios.

Choosing a Focus Mode

You can easily switch between automatic and manual focus by moving the AF/MF switch on the lens mounted on your camera. However, if you’re using a semi-automatic shooting mode, you’ll still need to choose an appropriate focus mode, which tells the camera when to focus when AF is active. (You can read more on selecting focus parameters in Chapter 5.)

To set the autofocus mode, access the viewfinder or two LCD screen versions of the Quick Control display, as described above, and navigate to the AF Operation (focus mode) icon. It’s located immediately to the left of the Metering Mode icon in the graphic Quick Control screen, and second from the top in the left column of the other two views. Choose one of these options, represented by the labels One-Shot or Servo AF. If the lens has been set to manual focus, neither option will be available, and an MF indicator will be shown as the icon.

The focus modes are:

  • One-Shot. This mode, sometimes called single autofocus, locks in a focus point when the shutter button is pressed down halfway. Green boxes will appear when the image is in focus at the active focus points, or orange boxes if the camera is unable to achieve sharp focus. The focus will remain locked until you release the button or take the picture. This mode is best when your subject is relatively motionless.
  • Servo AF. This mode, sometimes called continuous autofocus, sets focus when you partially depress the shutter button, but continues to monitor the frame and refocuses if the camera or subject is moved. This is a useful mode for photographing sports and moving subjects.

Selecting AF Method

The Canon EOS R5 and R6 offer thousands of different selectable focus positions embedded in the sensor that you can select to calculate correct focus. (The number varies depending on shooting and autofocus mode, as I’ll explain in Chapter 5.) In Scene Intelligent Auto mode, the focus point is selected automatically by the camera, using the face detection and tracking mode I’ll describe shortly. In the other semi-automatic and manual exposure modes, you can allow the camera to select the focus point automatically, or you can specify which focus point should be used.

Your camera has eight different ways of specifying which of the available focus points is selected by the camera automatically, or by the user manually. I’ll describe all of them in detail in Chapters 5 and 12 and will include illustrations showing the size and coverage of each of the AF methods. They are as follows:

  • Face+Tracking. The camera uses intelligent algorithms to locate human faces within the frame. The camera will then automatically focus on that face, and track it if your subject moves, refocusing as necessary. A bracketed box appears over the face to show you the active focus area. If no face is found, it will use all the focus points within the frame. As I’ll explain in Chapter 5, you can select the initial position for autofocus when using Servo AF.

    I recommend Face+Tracking as your default AF focus method when starting to use your camera. I’ll provide extensive tips for choosing the other six methods and will only describe them briefly in this chapter.

  • Spot AF. Allows you to manually select a single, reduced-size AF point.
  • 1-point AF. Allows you to manually select a single, slightly larger AF point, roughly three times the size of the Spot AF area.
  • Expand AF area. You can manually select a single AF point, as well as the four points located above, below, and to the left/right of it.
  • Expand AF area: Around. You can manually select a single AF point, as well as up to eight points surrounding it (above, below, left, right, and diagonally from the selected point).
  • Zone AF. AF points are segregated into square-shaped zones that cover about one-sixth of the frame, and you can select which zone to use. In this Zone mode and the two that follow, the EOS camera will seek out faces, if present, and attempt to focus on them.
  • Large Zone AF (Vertical). AF points are segregated into larger, vertically oriented zones, and you can select which zone to use.
  • Large Zone AF (Horizontal). The AF points are located with a larger horizontally oriented zone that you specify.

In addition to the Quick Control menu, the R5 and R6 offer several other ways of choosing the AF method. Here’s a quick how-to on choosing the autofocus areas your camera will use:

  1. 1. Press the AF point selection button. It’s located at the far right of the back of the camera. (See Figure 1.12.) You must press this button each time you want to change the AF area selection mode or when you want to select a specific AF point after the mode is specified.
  2. 2. Change modes. Within about six seconds of pressing the AF point selection button, press the M-Fn button (located on top of the camera next to the shutter release button—see Figure 1.12) repeatedly to cycle among the available modes. You can also opt to rotate either dial or use the left/right directional controls to cycle among the AF methods. Use whichever control is more convenient for you.
  3. 3. Select AF area mode. As you press the M-Fn button the display will show each of the AF Method options listed above. The highlighting will change to indicate which mode is selected. If you select Face+Tracking, you can press the INFO button to toggle Eye Detection (discussed in Chapter 5) on or off. Press SET to confirm.


Figure 1.12 Choose AF area mode.


Many informational and settings screens will be “live” for about 6 to 14 seconds after you’ve pressed the relevant button. I won’t repeat that information for every setting in this book; if a screen vanishes, just press the appropriate button once more.


Once you’ve chosen your AF method, you can move the active focus point around the screen to a location of your choice when using any of the AF methods except Face+Tracking. Just press the AF point selection button, as you did before, but do not touch the M-Fn button. Instead, simply use the Main Dial to move the selected point, group of points, or zone left or right in the array, and the QCD-1 to move the point, group, or zone up or down. Or, you can use the directional controls, like the Multi-controller joystick.

Other Settings

There are a few other options, such as white balance and using the self-timer. You can use these right away if you’re feeling ambitious, but don’t feel ashamed if you postpone using these features until you’ve racked up a little more experience with your camera.

Adjusting White Balance and ISO

If you like, you can custom-tailor your white balance (color balance) and ISO sensitivity settings. To start out, it’s best to set white balance (WB) to Auto, and ISO to ISO 100 or ISO 200 for daylight photos, and ISO 400 for pictures in dimmer light. You’ll find complete recommendations for both these settings in Chapter 4.

  • ISO. The easiest way to change ISO sensitivity is to use the M-Fn button on top of the camera. When you press it (without first pressing the AF point selection button), a screen appears with several functions you can adjust. Rotate either Quick Control Dial to choose which setting will be adjusted. ISO is the one located the farthest to the left. When it is highlighted, rotate the Main Dial to cycle among available ISO settings, which range from ISO Auto to ISO 100 to ISO 102,400. Press SET to confirm.
  • White Balance. This setting is also available from the array displayed by the M-Fn button. Rotate the QCD-1 until White Balance is highlighted. It’s the fourth adjustment from the left. Then, rotate the Main Dial to choose a white balance setting, from among two varieties of Auto White Balance (Ambience-priority [warm] and White-priority), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy/Twilight/Sunset, Tungsten, White Fluorescent, Flash, Custom, and Color Temperature. You can also adjust white balance in the Quick Control screen, described earlier in the section on choosing a Metering Mode.

Using Drive Modes and Self-Timer/Remote

Drive modes derive their name from the days of film shooting, when physical mechanisms were used to advance the film and provide a delay before the shutter was triggered. Your camera has five “drive” modes, one for taking a single shot each time the shutter is pressed, two continuous shooting modes that can capture images at up to 8.0 and 5.4 shots per second, and two self-timer/remote modes which trip the shutter after 10 seconds or 2 seconds have elapsed.

The fastest way to choose a drive mode is with the M-Fn button, as described earlier. The Drive icon is the second from the left in the M-Fn array. Highlight it using the QCD-1, and then select one of these modes using the Main Dial.

  • Single shooting. Each time you press the shutter button down all the way, the camera takes one picture.
  • High-speed continuous shooting +/High-speed continuous shooting. Hold down the shutter button to capture photos at a maximum rate of 12 shots per second or 20 shots per second if you’re using the electronic shutter. Shooting is slower in some picture-taking modes, as I’ll explain in Chapter 6.
  • Low-speed continuous shooting. Holding down the shutter button yields shooting at up to 3 frames per second.
  • Self-timer: 10 sec./remote control. The camera takes a photo 10 seconds after you press the shutter release all the way, or trigger the camera using a remote control, such as the RS-80N3. You’d use this setting when you want to have enough time to get in the picture yourself.
  • Self-timer: 2 sec./remote control. This version takes a picture after a delay of only 2 seconds. Use it when you simply want to allow the camera to stabilize after you’ve pressed the shutter release, minimizing camera shake (say, for long exposures).

Taking a Picture

This section of the chapter guides you through taking your first pictures, reviewing them on the LCD monitor, and transferring your shots to your computer.

Just press the shutter release button halfway to lock in focus at the selected autofocus point. When the shutter button is in the half-depressed position, the exposure, calculated using the shooting mode you’ve selected, is also locked.

Press the button the rest of the way down to take a picture. At that instant, the shutter opens, the electronic flash (if attached and enabled) fires, and your camera’s sensor absorbs a burst of light to capture an exposure. In fractions of a moment, the shutter closes, and the image you’ve taken is escorted off the CMOS sensor chip very quickly into an in-camera store of memory called a buffer, and the camera is ready to take another photo. The buffer continues dumping your image onto the memory card as you keep snapping pictures without pause (at least until the buffer fills and you must wait for it to get ahead of your continuous shooting, or your memory card fills completely).

Reviewing the Images You’ve Taken

The Canon EOS R5 and R6 have a broad range of playback and image review options. Here are the basics, as shown in Figure 1.13. I’ll explain more choices, such as rotating the image on review, in Chapter 2:

  • Display image. Press the Playback button (marked with a blue right-pointing triangle at the lower-right edge of the back of the camera just to the left of the Trash button) to display the most recent image on the LCD screen in full-screen single-image mode. If you last viewed your images using the thumbnail mode (described later in this list), the Index display appears instead.
  • View additional images. Rotate the QCD-1 to review additional images, one at a time. Turn it to the left to review images from most recent to oldest or toward the right to start with the last image viewed and cycle forward to the newest. You can also move among images using the directional controls or the touch screen (which I’ll explain in Chapter 2).
  • Jump ahead or back. When you’re using the single-image display (not zoomed or viewing reduced-size thumbnail images), you can zip through your shots more quickly to find a specific image. Just rotate the Main Dial to leap ahead or back by a variety of parameters. You can jump ahead by 1, 10, a number of images you specify, by screens of images, by date, or by folder, and jump among movies, stills, or images that have been “protected” or assigned an image “rating.” (You can mark favorite images to protect them from accidental erasure, or with one to five stars, as I’ll explain when I show you how to select all these Playback options in Chapter 13.) I find the Main Dial is faster.


Figure 1.13 Review your images.

  • View image information. Press the INFO button repeatedly to cycle among overlays of basic image information, detailed shooting information, or no information at all.
  • Zoom in on an image. When an image is displayed full-screen on your LCD, press the Magnify/Reduce button. Press the Playback button to exit magnified display. I’ll show you how to specify how much magnification is applied (from 2X up to 10X is available) using the Playback 4 menu in Chapter 13. Pinching and spreading two fingers on the touch screen can also be used to zoom in and out, as described in Chapter 2.
  • Scroll around in a magnified image. Press the Magnify/Reduce button, then use the directional controls to scroll around within a magnified image.
  • View thumbnail images. You can also rapidly move among a large number of images using the Index mode described in the section that follows this list.
  • Access functions. While reviewing pictures in full-image view, you can press the Q button to produce a Quick Control screen that gives you access to many simple functions. You can protect or rate images, resize them, change the jumping method, rotate them, perform RAW image processing, enable or disable highlight alerts, search for images, and activate/deactivate AF point display. When the Quick Control screen is visible, use the directional controls to select the function to perform. I’ll explain the advantages of all these options in Chapter 2.

Cruising through Index Views

You can navigate quickly among thumbnails representing a series of images using the Index mode. Here are your basic options.

  • Display thumbnails. Press the Playback button to display an image on the color LCD screen. If you last viewed your images using Index mode, an array of images appears automatically (see Figure 1.14). If an image pops up full-screen in single-image mode, press the Magnify/Reduce button once. Then, you can switch among 4, 9, 36, and 100 images, and back to single-image view by rotating the Main Dial counterclockwise. A few clicks will take you from magnified view to the four-image index view (and continuing to rotate counterclockwise will produce fewer/larger index images), whereas clockwise switches to fewer index images and back to single-image mode.


Figure 1.14 Review thumbnails of 4, 9, 36, or 100 images using Index review.

  • Navigate within a screen of index images. In Index mode, use the QCD-1 to move the highlight box around within the current Index display screen.
  • Check image. When an image you want to examine more closely is highlighted, press the SET button until the single-image version appears full screen on your LCD screen.

Transferring Photos to Your Computer

The final step in your picture-taking session will be to transfer the photos you’ve taken to your computer for printing, further review, or image editing. Your camera allows you to create print orders right in the camera.

For now, you’ll probably want to transfer your images either by using a cable transfer from the camera to the computer or by removing the memory card from the camera and transferring the images with a card reader. The latter option is generally the best because it’s usually much faster and doesn’t deplete the battery of your camera. However, you can use a cable transfer when you have the cable and a computer, but no card reader (perhaps you’re using the computer of a friend or colleague, or at an Internet café).

To transfer images from the camera to a Mac or PC computer using the USB cable:

  1. 1. Turn off the camera.
  2. 2. Pry back the cover that protects the camera’s USB port, and plug the USB Type-C cable furnished with the camera into the USB port. (Figure 1.15 shows the R6’s port; the R5 version is virtually identical.)
  3. 3. Connect the other end of the USB cable to a USB Type-C port on your computer. (You may need to use an optional Type-C-to-USB-A adapter if your device lacks a USB Type-C port.)
  4. 4. Turn on the camera. Your installed software usually detects the camera and offers to transfer the pictures, or the camera appears on your desktop as a mass storage device, enabling you to drag and drop the files to your computer.


Figure 1.15 Images can be transferred to your computer using a USB cable.

To transfer images from a memory card to the computer using a card reader:

  1. 1. Turn off the camera.
  2. 2. Slide open the memory card door, and press the card, which pops it up for removal.
  3. 3. Insert the memory card into your memory card reader. Your installed software detects the files on the card and offers to transfer them. The card can also appear as a mass storage device on your desktop, which you can open and then drag and drop the files to your computer.

Mastering the Quick Control Menus

As mentioned earlier, in Shooting or Playback modes, when you press the Q button, a Quick Control menu appears with icons representing adjustments you can make for that mode. In most cases, using an available Quick Control option is faster than making a visit to the multiple tabs of the conventional menu system. The Quick Control menus shown in the electronic viewfinder and LCD screen for each mode are very similar, so I’m going to show you one of each.

Quick Control: Shooting

The LCD screen version of the Quick Control menu in Shooting mode appears in Figure 1.16. (The viewfinder version was shown earlier in Figure 1.10. The two are almost identical, but the LCD screen options can be accessed by tapping on the icons surrounded by white boxes. A Return icon is used to exit the Quick Control menu.

To access any of the features, use the QCD-1 to move highlighting from one icon to the next one; movement will wrap around between columns. When you’ve highlighted the adjustment you want to make, use the Main Dial to select from the options displayed at the bottom of the screen. Your choices include:

  • AF method. Choose the area of the frame which will be used to focus automatically, as described earlier in this chapter.
  • AF operation. Choose from One-Shot or Servo focus modes.
  • Image quality. Choose from RAW and JPEG formats and Large, Medium, and Small resolutions to be stored on the currently selected memory card slot.
  • Drive mode. Select Single Shooting, High-Speed Continuous, Low-Speed Continuous, Self-timer: 10 sec., or Self-timer: 2 sec. You can learn more about continuous shooting in Chapter 6.
  • Metering mode. Choose from Evaluative, Partial, Spot, or Center-weighted averaging, explained in Chapter 4.
  • Return. This icon to exit the Quick Control screen appears only in the LCD version; you can also exit by pressing the Q button a second time.
  • Anti-flicker. Counter the flickering effects of some types of illumination, as explained in Chapter 11.
  • White balance. Select various white balance options, such as Daylight and Incandescent.
  • Picture Style. Apply photo-enhancing parameters to your images as you shoot, as described in Chapter 11.
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer. Adjust shadow detail in high-contrast images.
  • Cropping/Aspect ratio. Crop your image to 1.6X (APS-C) format; or change the proportions to 1:1, 4:3, or 16:9 aspect ratios.


Figure 1.16 Viewfinder version of Shooting mode Quick Control screen.

Quick Control: Playback

The LCD version of the Quick Control menu in Playback mode is shown in Figure 1.17. As with the Shooting LCD version, you can access any of the features by tapping the icons or pressing the directional controls to move highlighting from one icon to the next. When you’ve highlighted the adjustment you want to make, use the directional controls or either Main Dial or QCD-2 to select from the options displayed.


Figure 1.17 LCD screen version of Playback mode Quick Control screen.

Your choices include the following, which I will explain in detail in Chapter 13:

  • Protect images. You can protect images or groups of images from accidental erasure (but not from a card format).
  • Rotate image. Rotate the current image on the display in 90-degree increments.
  • Rating. Apply one to five stars to images; these can be used to sort and search for images assigned to each rating.
  • RAW image processing. You can perform many RAW processing functions to a RAW image, such as Brightness, White Balance, Picture Style, Auto Lighting Optimizer, High ISO Noise Reduction, Image Quality, Color Space, and Lens Aberration Correction. Then you can save a processed JPEG version, leaving the original RAW file untouched. You can learn more about these parameters in Chapter 11, and the RAW image processing feature in Chapter 13.
  • Resize. Convert a full-frame Large image to Medium and Small resolutions.
  • Cropping. You can crop, straighten, or change the aspect ratio of an image, and then save a converted copy.
  • Return. Tap this icon to exit. It is available only in the LCD screen version of the Quick Control menu. The Q button can be pressed to exit in both LCD and Viewfinder screen versions.
  • Highlight alert. Shows whether highlight warnings are displayed.
  • AF point display. Shows the AF points used when the image was captured.
  • Image jump. Jump forward or back among images during playback using leaps of 1, 10, or a specified number of images, or by date, folder name, or by movies, stills, protected, or rated image parameters.
  • Image search. You can search for images using one or more search parameters, including a specific rating, specified date, selected folder/protected condition, or file type.
  • Send to smartphone. As I’ll show you in Chapter 6, you can send your shots to your smart device automatically and select them using this option.
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